Russian Defense Minister is hoping the war between the U.S. and Iraq could be avoided

The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov expressed hope that the war between the U.S. and Iraq could be avoided. According to RIA Novosti correspondent, Sergei Ivanov, answering the questions about the inevitability of the war, stated: "I would like to think there are still some other alternatives."

During his talks with the U.S. authorities, he said, "the Americans presented a lot of arguments that are mostly based on the past evidence." In his opinion, the evidence shown is the result of the previous inspections and the American side doesn't have new concrete data proving that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.

On September 30, according to Ivanov, the head of the UNMOVIC Dr. Hans Blix "is flying to Vienna to start a series of specific talks on the technical issues of the first new set of inspections in Iraq."

Ivanov reminded the journalists that there were 700 facilities in Iraq under the UN inspectors' site-control. Fending off some reproaches against Russia which claim that it allegedly opposes the new UN resolutions, which are to toughen the regime of international inspectors' work, Ivanov stated that "those allegations are not true because the drafts of the resolutions haven't been worked out yet and it's impossible to oppose something that doesn't exist."

The minister underlined that Russia is willing to ascertain the truth about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq because "if they do exist - we are also facing the threat, but if they don't - it gives 'the green light' to lifting the sanctions."

Sergei Ivanov said that during the talks with the U.S. officials he got an impression that the Americans were willing to abide with the UN resolutions. But he also added that if the UN fails to come up with a coordinated resolution, the Americans might decide to act on their own.

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